Is There Anything Quite As Sad?

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Apr 302013

Is there anything quite as sad as a shopping mall going down the gurgler? You know, lots of storefronts empty, and papered over.



Sadly, that’s how it is at the Riverwalk in New Orleans. And quite frankly, that’s not at all surprising.

I can remember my first visit here, maybe in 1994, and there were actually some shops there – places that people might want to visit even. I seem to recall perhaps a Disney Store, and a Victoria’s Secret.

But the problem is that, if you live somewhere in the US that’s semi populated – has more than two gas stations and a population greater than three or four families – then you already have all of these stores somewhere close by.

Shopping at the replacement for your local mall is not exactly the reason why people come to visit New Orleans, and as if to add insult to injury, when you shop in places like this, you’re also slugged with a mall-rent tax.

No, it’s not a real tax, but their rents are not cheap in places like this, and those costs need to be passed on to the consumer – that’s us – and as a result, the $10 t-shirt that you want to buy actually carries a price tag of $22.

And thus the stores close down, leaving great big vacant gaps in the place.

Tear the place down, and turn it into parklands. With a couple of performance spaces. Make it something worthwhile, rather than the sad, sorry excuse for a commercial piece of crap that’s currently there.

Apr 302013

Customer service, that is. Take the example of the Crocs franchise, for instance.

Crocs make and sell some great products, but some of their management policies are totally clueless.

Yesterday we wandered into their store in the Riverwalk in New Orleans. I wanted to buy some shoes. After all, that’s whole idea of having a retail, bricks-and-mortar presence, right? To sell people your products!

Sadly, the stores’ policy is that if your shoe size is larger than 13, go and get fucked.

Sorry, I mean, take your money elsewhere.

Sorry, I mean it’s “go to our website, and order your product there, even though you have no guarantees that the product that you will order will fit, or be delivered to you while you are where you are. “. Translated, that’s “Yes, we’re idiots, and we want you to know this.”.

Let me make this perfectly clear: I was there, cash in hand, and I wanted to try on, and buy, some shoes. I have very wide feet – I suffer from odema which means that most shoes I see don’t even come close – and if the mindless furballs at Crocs think that it’s a good idea to send customers with cash in their hands away from their front doors, then they’re just plain mad.

Or idiots.

If I was a shareholder in Crocs, I would be asking the board some serious questions about this.

In the meantime, my money goes elsewhere.

I left my business card with the poor bastard in the store. Like, that poor guy has to tell customers that he cannot sell them stuff, and that they need to go online. As if.

But, in leaning them my business card, they now have an open door to get back to me and explain themselves. I’m not holding my breath.